Former WWE and TNA World Champion Kurt Angle has revealed how Brock Lesnar nearly joined TNA in 2007, in what would have been the biggest signing the companies history. The pair were great rivals in the WWE and fought over the WWE Undisputed Championship over a number of months in some of the best matches in Smackdown history.
Lesnar had left WWE in 2004 after a horrible match with Goldberg at Wrestlemania XX, as he was tired of the WWE schedule and travel, and wanted to try his hand in the NFL. After his outside ventures failed, he explored the opportunity of returning to wrestling, first in Japan with NJPW and later looking at opportunities in America. He also moved on to fight in the UFC, where he also became the world champion in the heavyweight division.
He would famously not return to wrestling until his 2012 reappearance in the WWE, where he would feud with John Cena (and infamously lose his first match in controversial fashion). He would go on to have potentially the greatest run in wrestling history, winning multiple world championships and ending The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania XXX. He has solidified his spot as a WWE Hall of Fame headliner and will go down as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
On this week’s episode of his podcast, The Kurt Angle Show, the Olympic Gold Medallist revealed that Brock Lesnar pondered a wrestling return in 2007. However, he was uninterested in returning to the WWE, with the travelling one of his biggest pet peeves. He even bought his own private jet to avoid the hassle of public travel that the other wrestlers had to deal with.
He claimed that Brock Lesnar wanted the same money Angle was making and that was the only barrier that stopped him making his way to the company during, arguably, their peak. However, TNA claimed they did not have the budget and missed out on maybe the greatest wrestler of all time due to their penny pinching.
“Okay, Brock calls me. He is not in the WWE. He says, ‘Listen, man. Can you get me in TNA?’ I probably shouldn’t even be saying this now. But you know what? Brock doesn’t care. He said, ‘Hey, what are you making?’ And I said what I was making. He said, ‘If you can get me that, I’ll come.’ I approached TNA, and they said, ‘No, we’re not going to give him that kind of money.’”
I think they were at the top of their budget, where they couldn’t really give any more money out. I was making a lot of money. Sting was making a good bit of money, and then you had a bunch of guys on the roster. You know, TNA, the Carter family funded it for a long time, and then TNA started making their own money, but it just wasn’t enough to bring in another guy for seven figures a year. I don’t think they were capable enough to do that.”
Despite not having the money to match Kurt Angle’s multi-million dollar salary for Brock Lesnar, just two years later TNA brought in Hulk Hogan and a litany of his friends on huge money, in their bid to challenge WWE in the second (and much shorter) Monday Night Wars. It’s clear TNA could have signed Brock Lesnar had they really wanted to and this could go down as one of their biggest mistakes (of where there were so, so many).
If Lesnar had joined the company, the matches that could have been put on would have been some oft he biggest dream matches ever. Having Brock Lesnar vs AJ Styles a decade earlier would have provided some incredible in-ring moments, with both men hungrier and more athletic than they were during their Survivor Series 2017 encounter. Another match with Kurt Angle could also have done huge numbers for the promotion, who always had problems with their pay per view numbers.
Other matches against the likes of Samoa Joe, Scott Steiner and especially “The Icon” Sting could have made TNA a real tour de force and helped them not beat WWE, but be a top-level alternative the way AEW has been for the last three years.
What match would you like to have seen Brock Lesnar have in TNA? Tell us in the comments or click below to read about why Brock Lesnar refused to wrestle Jinder Mahal.